ON THE MAT
The University of Iowa wrestling team travels to Cleveland to compete at the 2018 NCAA Championships on March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena. The three-day tournament begins Thursday with Round 1 starting at 11 a.m. (CT) and Session II at 6 p.m. Sessions III (quarterfinals) and IV (semifinals) begin Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The medal round starts Saturday at 10 a.m., and the championship finals begin Saturday at 7 p.m.
ESPN COVERAGE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
ESPN will provide primetime coverage of the three-day tournament for the second year in a row. ESPN will televise the second round (March 16) and semifinals (March 17). The finals (March 18) air in prime time on ESPN2, and ESPNU will televise the first round (March 16), quarterfinals (March 17) and medal round (March 18).
WatchESPN will carry individual mat feeds throughout the entire tournament allowing fans to choose which wrestlers and/or schools to follow at any time. Eight mats will be used for the first, second and quarterfinals, before the competition is reduced to six mats for the semifinals, three mats for the medal round and one mat for the finals.
Live results will be available on the Iowa wrestling schedule page at trackwrestling.com.
hawkeyesports.com, the official website of the Iowa Hawkeyes, will have exclusive video highlights for all sessions of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS OUTSTANDING WRESTLERS
Ten different Hawkeyes have been named the NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler. They include Chuck Yagla (1976), Bruce Kinseth (1979), Jim Zalesky (1984), Barry Davis (1985), Mary Kistler (1986), Tom Brands (1992), Terry Steiner (1993), Lincoln McIlravy (1997), Joe Williams (1998) and Brent Metcalf (2008).
Iowa has two returning All-Americans in its lineup. Senior Brandon Sorensen is a three-time All-American at 149 pounds. Sophomore Michael Kemerer earned All-America honors as a freshman at 157 in 2017.
The Hawkeyes have crowned at least one All-American in 46 consecutive seasons, a stretch dating back to 1972. Iowa has totaled 278 All-America honors during that stretch.
The Hawkeyes have 19 four-time All-Americans in program history. If Sorensen reaches the award stand in Cleveland, he will be Iowa’s 20th four-time All-American.
ROOM TO GROW
The Hawkeyes qualified six underclassmen for the national tournament, including four sophomores, one redshirt freshman, and one true freshman. The six underclassmen are the most of any Big Ten school at the national tournament.
The six underclassmen represent the most by a Hawkeye NCAA lineup six the 2008 team qualified six sophomores for the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.
Each of Iowa’s nine qualifiers earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament at the 2018 Big Ten Championships.
Iowa has sent at least eight athletes to the NCAA Championships in each of head coach Tom Brands’ 12 seasons. The Hawkeyes won national titles with a nine-man lineup in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, Iowa had seven All-Americans and two NCAA champions. In 2009, Iowa won the team crown with five All-Americans but no champions.
The Hawkeyes have five wrestlers with previous NCAA experience, and four wrestlers making their national tournament debuts.
• FIRST TIMERS: Spencer Lee (Fr. 125), Vince Turk (So. 141), Alex Marinelli (R-Fr. 165), Mitch Bowman (Jr. 184).
• BACK FOR SECONDS: All-American Michael Kemerer (So. 157), Joey Gunther (So. 174), Cash Wilcke (So. 197), Sam Stoll (Jr. 285).
• FOURTH AND FINAL: Three-time All-American Brandon Sorensen (Sr. 149).
HAWKEYES IN THE FINAL
Cory Clark advanced to the finals and won the NCAA title at 133 pounds in 2017 to extend Iowa’s streak of NCAA finals appearances to 28 consecutive years.
Iowa has had at least one wrestler in the national finals every year since 1990, and in 42 of the last 43 seasons dating back to 1975.
Iowa has two freshmen in the NCAA championships. True freshman Spencer Lee is the No. 3 seed at 125. Redshirt freshman Alex Marinelli is the No. 5 seed at 165.
Since 2007, Brands first NCAA championships as Iowa’s head coach, 17 freshmen have qualified for the NCAA tournament and six have gone on to win All-America honors (Matt McDonough 2010; Derek St. John, 2011; Bobby Telford, 2012; Cory Clark, 2014; Brandon Sorensen, 2015; Michael Kemerer, 2017). McDonough won the national title in 2010 at 125 pounds.
DOMINANT SINCE NO. 1
Gary Kurdelmeier led Iowa to its first NCAA Championship in 1975, and in the 43 years since, the Hawkeyes have accumulated 23 team titles, more than any other school — Oklahoma State (7), Penn State (6), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), Ohio State (1) and Arizona State (1).
125 POUNDS — SPENCER LEE, FRESHMAN
Freshman Spencer Lee is the No. 3 seed at 125 pounds. He enters the tournament 17-2 overall.
Lee has scored bonus points in 14 matches, registering seven pins, all in the first period. He has one major decision, and a team-high six technical falls. Nine of his wins have been against ranked opponents.
He is making his first NCAA tournament appearance. He earned an automatic berth by placing third at the Big Ten Championships. He is 11-2 against the tournament field. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week following a 3-2 win over Nathan Tomasello at Ohio State on Jan. 21.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won two NCAA titles at 125 pounds (Matt McDonough 2010, 2012).
141 POUNDS — VINCE TURK, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Vince Turk is making his first NCAA appearance. He earned an automatic berth by placing fifth at the Big Ten Championships. He was 4-2 at the conference tournament despite entering the field unseeded. He is unseeded at the national tournament.
Turk is 13-8 overall this season, scoring bonus points in six matches. He started 10 of Iowa’s 15 duals at 141 pounds, sharing time with redshirt freshman Carter Happel. Turk won a wrestle-off with Happel to earn a spot in the postseason lineup. He is 3-6 against the current NCAA tournament field.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won two NCAA titles at 141 pounds (Doug Schwab, 1999; Cliff Moore, 2004).
149 POUNDS — BRANDON SORENSEN, SENIOR
Three-time All-American Brandon Sorensen is the No. 2 seed at 149 pounds. The senior is 21-2 overall and has scored bonus points in 12 matches, including three major decisions, three technical falls, and six pins. He is one pin shy of matching his career-best of seven, set in 2016-17.
Sorensen earned an automatic berth to the national tournament by placing second at the Big Ten Championships. Both of his losses this season are to top-seeded Zain Retherford of Penn State. Sorensen is 17-8 against the tournament field, with six of those losses to Retherford.
Sorensen is making his fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships. He placed fourth as a freshman in 2015, was runner-up in 2016, and placed third in 2017.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won three NCAA titles at 149 pounds (T.J. Williams, 1999; Brent Metcalf 2008, 2010).
SORENSEN CLIMBS WINS LIST
Senior Brandon Sorensen has 121 career wins, 18th most in program history. He is one win shy of tying Chris Campbell, Mike DeAnna, and Matt McDonough for 15th all-time. John Bowlsby ranks 14th with 126 wins.
157 POUNDS — MICHAEL KEMERER, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Michael Kemerer is the No. 6 seed at 157 pounds. He is 22-1 this season and has scored bonus points in 17 matches, including four major decisions, five technical falls, and a team-high eight pins. His 22 wins are also a team best.
Kemerer had a 24-match winning streak snapped in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. He was 22-0 this season, and won his final two matches to place third at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
Kemerer is 14-3 against the tournament field, including a win over top-seed Hayden Hidlay, 9-6, at the 2016 Midlands, and a 5-2 win over fourth-seeded Josh Shields at the 2017 Midlands. He won the 2017 Midlands Championships, and has twice this season been named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won two NCAA titles at 157 pounds (T.J. Williams, 2000; Derek St. John, 2013).
165 POUNDS — ALEX MARINELLI, R-FRESHMAN
Redshirt freshman is the No. 5 seed at his first national tournament, having earned an automatic berth by placing sixth at the Big Ten Championships.
Marinelli entered the conference tournament ranked No. 2 in the country and undefeated at 14-0. He went 2-3 at the Big Ten tournament with all three losses to top 10 wrestlers. He is 9-3 this year against ranked opponents and 12-5 in his career against the tournament field.
Marinelli won the 2017 Midlands tournament and was named Champion of Champions. Twice this year he has been named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won two NCAA titles at 165 pounds (Mark Perry 2007, 2008).
174 POUNDS — JOEY GUNTHER, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Joey Gunther is making his second appearance at the national tournament. He earned an at-large berth by placing sixth at the Big Ten Championships.
Gunther is competing in the postseason for the first time at 174 pounds. He earned an at-large berth last season at 165 pounds and went 2-2 at the national tournament.
Gunther started 12 of Iowa’s 15 duals at 174. He enters the NCAA Championships with a 16-7 overall record. He is 2-7 against the tournament field.
Since 1999, when the NCAA implemented the weight classes used today, Iowa has won one NCAA title at 174 pounds (Jay Borschel, 2010).
184 POUNDS — MITCH BOWMAN, JUNIOR
Junior Mitch Bowman placed eighth at the Big Ten Championships to earn an automatic berth to his first NCAA Championships.
Bowman is unseeded at 184 and enters the tournament with a 12-11 record. He started all 15 of Iowa’s duals at 184 and has four wins over ranked opponents. He climbed as high as No. 18 this season in the national polls. He is 3-11 against the tournament field.
197 POUNDS — CASH WILCKE, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Cash Wilcke is making his second straight NCAA Championships appearance. He earned an automatic berth by placing sixth at the Big Ten Championships.
Wilcke went 3-2 at the 2017 NCAA Championships, falling one win shy of reaching the medal stand.
He enters this year’s tournament at the No. 14 seed and an 18-6 overall record. He is 5-13 against the tournament field.
285 POUNDS — SAM STOLL, JUNIOR
Junior Sam Stoll is returning to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2016, when he qualified as a redshirt freshman but was forced to medically forfeit his opening match. He missed the 2017 tournament with an injury.
Stoll is the No. 5 seed at 285 and enters the tournament with an overall record of 19-4. He has six wins over ranked opponents. His four losses have been to the No. 2 seed Adam Coon and No. 3 seed Nick Nevills. Stoll is 11-5 all-time against the tournament field.
ON THE MAT